2 Thessalonians 2:16
Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which has loved us, and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Now.—Better, And, connecting closely the prayer with the exhortation, just as in 1Thessalonians 5:23. “Again,” says St. Chrysostom, “prayer after advice: this is to help in earnest.” The word “Himself,” as in the passage cited, contrasts the Almighty power of our Lord with the partial instructions and feeble help which even Apostles could give, and with the impotence of the Thessalonian Christians to stand firm in their own strength.

Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father.—The order of mention is unusual. (See, however, 2Corinthians 13:3.) It is not designedly meant to show the equality of the Blessed Persons, which is done only incidentally by the fact that the same aspiration is directed to both. Probably, in fact, the names are arranged to form a climax: St. Paul having spoken first of the Person whose work on the heart is the more immediate, and then jealously watching lest he should in any way make the Eternal Father seem less deeply interested in our welfare than the Son is. All primitive devotion and doctrine are markedly opposed to the tendency to rest in the Mediator without a real lively faith in the Father who sent Him.

Which hath loved us.—Love to us is specially (so fearfully wrong is much of the popular language about the Atonement) the characteristic of the Father. (See, for instance, John 3:16; John 17:23; 2Corinthians 13:3; Ephesians 2:4; 1John 4:10.) It is in the thought of this tender love of God to us that the writer adds immediately the endearing title “Our Father.” This love seems to be mentioned here as being the ground on which the writer rests his hope for the fulfilment of his prayer. It should literally be translated, which loved us, and gave—the moment being apparently (as in John 3:16) the moment of providing the Atonement for our sins.

Everlasting consolation.—This means “an ever present source of comfort,” of which no persecution can rob us. This giving of comfort is the proof or explanation of the statement that He “loved us,” and refers to the same act. Our unfailing comfort lies in the thought of God’s love exemplified in the Incarnation of His Son.

Good hope through grace.—These words must be closely joined. God gave us not only a consolation under present trials, but a sweet prospect in the future; but this sweet prospect belongs to us only “in grace” (the literal version). All our hope is based on the continuance of the spiritual strength imparted by the Father through the Son and the Spirit. The qualifying words “in grace” are added to “hope” in just the same way as the words “in sanctification” are added to “salvation” in 2Thessalonians 2:13.

2 Thessalonians



EVERLASTING CONSOLATION AND GOOD HOPE


2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.

This is the second of the four brief prayers which, as I pointed out in my last sermon, break the current of Paul’s teaching in this letter, and witness to the depth of his affection to his Thessalonian converts. We do not know the special circumstances under which these then were, but there are many allusions, both in the first and second epistles, which seem to indicate that they specially needed the gift of consolation.

They were a young Church, just delivered from paganism. Like lambs in the midst of wolves, they stood amongst bitter enemies, their teacher had left them alone, and their raw convictions needed to be consolidated and matured in the face of much opposition. No wonder then that over and over again, in both letters, we have references to the persecutions and tribulations which they endured, and to the consolations which would much more abound.

But whatever may have been their specific circumstances, the prayer which puts special emphasis on comfort is as much needed by each of us as it could ever have been by any of them. For there are no eyes that have not wept, or will not weep; no breath that has not been, or will not be, drawn in sighs; and no hearts that have not bled, or will not bleed. So, dear friends, the prayer that went up for these long since comforted brothers, in their forgotten obscure sorrows, is as needful for each of us--that the God who has given everlasting consolation may apply the consolations which He has supplied, and ‘comfort our hearts and stablish them in every good word and work.’

The prayer naturally falls, as all true prayer will, into three sections--the contemplation of Him to whom it is addressed, the grasping of the great act on which it is based, and the specification of the desires which it includes. These three thoughts may guide us for a few moments now.

I. First of all, then, note the divine hearers of the prayer.

The first striking thing about this prayer is its emphatic recognition of the divinity of Jesus Christ as a truth familiar to these Thessalonian converts. Note the solemn accumulation of His august titles, ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.’ Note, further, that extraordinary association of His name with the Father’s. Note, still further, the most remarkable order in which these two names occur--Jesus first, God second. If we were not so familiar with the words, and with their order, which reappears in Paul’s well-known and frequently-used Benediction, we should be startled to find that Jesus Christ was put before God in such a solemn address. The association and the order of mention of the names are equally outrageous, profane, and inexplicable, except upon one hypothesis, and that is that Jesus Christ is divine.

The reason for the order may be found partly in the context, which has just been naming Christ, but still more in the fact that whilst he writes, the Apostle is realising the mediation of Christ, and that the order of mention is the order of our approach. The Father comes to us in the Son; we come to the Father by the Son; and, therefore, it is no intercepting of our reverence, nor blasphemously lifting the creature to undue elevation, when in one act the Apostle appeals to ‘our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father.’

Note, still further, the distinct address to Christ as the Hearer of Prayer. And, note, last of all, about this matter, the singular grammatical irregularity in my text, which is something much more than a mere blunder or slip of the pen. The words which follow, viz., ‘comfort’ and ‘stablish,’ are in the singular, whilst these two mighty and august names are their nominatives, and would therefore, by all regularity, require a plural to follow them. That this peculiarity is no mere accident, but intentional and deliberate, is made probable by the two instances in our text, and is made certain, as it seems to me, by the fact that the same anomalous and eloquent construction occurs in the previous epistle to the same church, where we have in exact parallelism with our text, ‘God Himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ,’ with the singular verb, ‘direct our way unto you.’ The phraseology is the expression, in grammatical form, of the great truth, ‘Whatsoever things the Father doeth, these also doth the Son likewise.’ And from it there gleam out unmistakably the great principles of the unity of action and the distinction of person between Father and Son, in the depths of that infinite and mysterious Godhead.

Now all this, which seems to me to be irrefragable, is made the more remarkable and the stronger as a witness of the truth, from the fact that it occurs in this perfectly incidental fashion, and without a word of explanation or apology, as taking for granted that there was a background of teaching in the Thessalonian Church which had prepared the way for it, and rendered it intelligible, as well as a background of conviction which had previously accepted it.

And, remember, these two letters, thus full-toned in their declaration, and taking for granted the previous acceptance of the great doctrine of the divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, are the earliest portions of the New Testament, and are often spoken about as being singularly undogmatic. So they are, and therefore all the more eloquent and all the more conclusive is such a testimony as this to the sort of teaching which from the beginning the Apostle addressed to his converts.

Now is that your notion of Jesus Christ? Do you regard Him as the sharer in the divine attributes and in the divine throne? It was a living Christ that Paul was thinking about when he wrote these words, who could hear him praying in Corinth, and could reach a helping hand down to these poor men in Thessalonica. It was a divine Christ that Paul was thinking about when he dared to say, ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ, and God our Father.’ And I beseech you to ask yourself the question whether your faith accepts that great teaching, and whether to you He is far more than ‘the Man Christ Jesus’; and just because He is the man, is therefore the Son of God. Brethren! either Jesus lies in an unknown grave, ignorant of all that is going on here, and the notion that He can help is a delusion and a dream, or else He is the ever-living because He is the divine Christ, to whom we poor men can speak with the certainty that He hears us, and who wields the energies of Deity, and works the same works as the Father, for the help and blessing of the souls that trust Him.

II. Secondly, note the great fact on which this prayer builds itself.

The form of words in the original, ‘loved’ and ‘given,’ all but necessarily requires us to suppose that their reference is to some one definite historical act in which the love was manifested, and, as love always does, found voice in giving. Love is the infinite desire to bestow, and its language is always a gift. Then, according to the Apostle’s thought, there is some one act in which all the fulness of the divine love manifests itself; some one act in which all the treasures which God can bestow upon men are conveyed and handed over to a world.

The statement that there is such renders almost unnecessary the question what such an act is. For there can be but one in all the sweep of the magnificent and beneficent divine deeds, so correspondent to His love, and so inclusive of all His giving, as that it shall be the ground of our confidence and the warrant for our prayers. The gift of Jesus Christ is that in which everlasting consolation and good hope are bestowed upon men. When our desires are widened out to the widest they must be based upon the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ; and when we would think most confidently and most desiringly of the benefits that we seek, for ourselves or for our fellows, we must turn to the Cross. My prayer is then acceptable and prevalent when it foots itself on the past divine act, and looking to the life and death of Jesus Christ, is widened out to long for, ask for, and in the very longing and asking for to begin to possess, the fulness of the gifts which then were brought to men in Him.

‘Everlasting consolation and good hope.’ I suppose the Apostle’s emphasis is to be placed quite as much on the adjectives as on the nouns; for there are consolations enough in the world, only none of them are permanent; and there are hopes enough that amuse and draw men, but one of them only is ‘good.’ The gift of Christ, thinks Paul, is the gift of a comfort which will never fail amidst all the vicissitudes and accumulated and repeated and prolonged sorrows to which flesh is heir, and is likewise the gift of a hope which, in its basis and in its objects, is equally noble and good.

Look at these two things briefly. Paul thinks that in Jesus Christ you and I, and all the world, if it will have it, has received the gift of an everlasting comfort. Ah! sorrow is more persistent than consolation. The bandaged wounds bleed again; the fire damped down for a moment smoulders, even when damped, and bursts out again. But there is one source of comfort which, because it comes from an unchangeable Christ, and because it communicates unfailing gifts of patience and insight, and because it leads forward to everlasting blessedness and recompenses, may well be called ‘eternal consolation.’ Of course, consolation is not needed when sorrow has ceased; and when the wiping away of all tears from off all faces, and the plunging of grief into the nethermost fires, there to be consumed, have come about, there is no more need for comfort. Yet that which made the comfort while sorrow lasts, makes the triumph and the rapture when sorrow is dead, and is everlasting, though its office of consolation determines with earth.

‘Good hope through grace.’ This is the weakness of all the hopes which dance like fireflies in the dark before men, and are often like will-o’-the-wisps in the night tempting men into deep mire, where there is no standing--that they are uncertain in their basis and inadequate in their range. The prostitution of the great faculty of hope is one of the saddest characteristics of our feeble and fallen manhood; for the bulk of our hopes are doubtful and akin to fears, and are mean and low, and disproportioned to the possibilities, and therefore the obligations, of our spirits. But in that Cross which teaches us the meaning of sorrows, and in that Christ whose presence is light in darkness, and the very embodied consolation of all hearts, there lie at once the foundation and the object of a hope which, in consideration both of object and foundation, stands unique in its excellence and sufficient in its firmness. ‘A good hope’; good because well founded; and good because grasping worthy objects; eternal consolation outlasting all sorrows--these things were given once for all, to the whole world when Jesus Christ came and lived and died. The materials for a comfort that shall never fail me, and for the foundation and the object of a hope that shall never be ashamed, are supplied in Jesus Christ our Lord. And so these gifts, already passed under the great seal of heaven, and confirmed to us all, if we choose to take them for ours, are the ground upon which the largest prayers may be rested, and the most ardent desires may be unblamably cherished, in the full confidence that no petitions of ours can reach to the greatness of the divine purpose, and that the widest and otherwise wildest of our hopes and wishes are sober under-estimates of what God has already given to us. For if He has given the material, He will apply what He has supplied. And if He has thus in the past bestowed the possibilities of comfort and hope upon the world, He will not slack His hand, if we desire the possibility to be in our hearts turned into the actuality.

God has given, therefore God will give. That in heaven’s logic, but it does not do for men. It presupposes inexhaustible resources, unchangeable purposes of kindness, patience that is not disgusted and cannot be turned away by our sin. These things being presupposed it is true; and the prayer of my text, that God would comfort, can have no firmer foundation than the confidence of my text, that God has given ‘everlasting consolation and good hope through grace.’ ‘Thou hast helped us; leave us not, neither forsake us, O God of our salvation.’

III. The last thing here is the petitions based upon the contemplation of the divine hearers of the prayer, and of the gift already bestowed by God.

May He ‘comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.’ I have already said all that perhaps is necessary in regard to the connection between the past gift of everlasting consolation and the present and future comforting of hearts which is here desired. It seems to me that the Apostle has in his mind the distinction between the great work of Christ, in which are supplied for us the materials for comfort and hope, and the present and continuous work of that Divine Spirit, by which God dwelling in our hearts in Jesus Christ makes real for each of us the universal gift of consolation and of hope. God has bestowed the materials for comfort; God will give the comfort for which He has supplied the materials. It were a poor thing if all that we could expect from our loving Father in the heavens were that He should contribute to us what might make us peaceful and glad and calm in sorrow, if we chose to use it. Men comfort from without; God steals into the heart, and there diffuses the aroma of His presence. Christ comes into the ship before He says, ‘Peace! be still!’ It is not enough for our poor troubled heart that there should be calmness and consolation twining round the Cross if we choose to pluck the fruit. We need, and therefore we have, an indwelling God who, by that Spirit which is the Comforter, will make for each of us the everlasting consolation which He has bestowed upon the world our individual possession. God’s husbandry is not merely broadcast sowing of the seed, but the planting in each individual heart of the precious germ. And the God who has given everlasting consolation to a whole world will comfort thy heart.

Then, again, the comforted heart will be a stable heart. Our fixedness and stability are not natural immobility, but communicated steadfastness. There must be, first, the consolation of Christ before there can be the calmness of a settled heart. We all know how vacillating, how driven to and fro by gusts of passion and winds of doctrine and forces of earth our resolutions and spirits are. But thistledown glued to a firm surface will be firm, and any light thing lashed to a solid one will be solid; and reeds shaken with the wind may be turned into brazen pillars that cannot be moved. If we have Christ in our hearts, He will be our consolation first and our stability next. Why should it be that we are spasmodic and fluctuating, and the slaves of ups and downs, like some barometer in stormy weather; now at ‘set fair,’ and then away down where ‘much rain’ is written? There is no need for it. Get Christ into your heart, and your mercury will always stand at one height. Why should it be that at one hour the flashing waters fill the harbour, and that six hours afterwards there is a waste of ooze and filth? It need not be. Our hearts may be like some landlocked lake that knows no tide. ‘His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.’

The comforted and stable heart will be a fruitful heart. ‘In every good word and work.’ Ah! how fragmentary is our goodness, like the broken torsos of the statues of fair gods dug up in some classic land. There is no reason why each of us should not appropriate and make our own the forms of goodness to which we are least naturally inclined, and cultivate and possess a symmetrical, fully-developed, all-round goodness, in some humble measure after the pattern of Jesus Christ our Lord. Practical righteousness, ‘in every good word and work,’ is the outcome of all the sacred and secret consolations and blessings that Jesus Christ imparts. There are many Christian people who are like those swallow-holes, as they call them, characteristic of limestone countries, where a great river plunges into a cave and is no more heard of. You do not get your comforts and your blessing for that, brother, but in order that all the joy and peace, all the calmness and the communion, which you realise in the secret place of the Most High, may be translated into goodness and manifest righteousness in the market-place and the street. We get our goodness where we get our consolation, from Jesus Christ and His Cross.

And so, dear friends, all your comforts will die, and your sorrows will live, unless you have Christ for your own. The former will be like some application that is put on a poisoned bite, which will soothe it for a moment, but as soon as the anodyne dries off the skin, the poison will tingle and burn again, and will be working in the blood, whilst the remedy only touched the surface of the flesh. All your hopes will be like a child’s castles on the sand, which the next tide will smooth out and obliterate, unless your hope is fixed on Him. You may have everlasting consolation, you may have a hope which will enable you to look serenely on the ills of life, and on the darkness of death, and on what darkly looms beyond death. You may have a calmed and steadied heart; you may have an all-round, stable, comprehensive goodness. But there is only one way to get these blessings, and that is to grasp and make our own, by simple faith and constant clinging, that great gift, given once for all in Jesus Christ, the gift of comfort that never dies, and of hope that never deceives, and then to apply that gift day by day, through God’s good Spirit, to sorrows and trials and duties as they emerge. 2:16,17 We may and should direct our prayers, not only to God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, but also to our Lord Jesus Christ himself. And we should pray in his name unto God, not only as his Father, but as our Father in and through him. The love of God in Christ Jesus, is the spring and fountain of all the good we have or hope for. There is good reason for strong consolations, because the saints have good hope through grace. The free grace and mercy of God are what they hope for, and what their hopes are founded on, and not any worth or merit of their own. The more pleasure we take in the word, and works, and ways of God, the more likely we shall be to persevere therein. But, if we are wavering in faith, and of a doubtful mind, halting and faltering in our duty, no wonder that we are strangers to the joys of religion.Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself - This expression is equivalent to this: "I pray our Lord Jesus, and our Father, to comfort you." It is really a prayer offered to the Saviour - a recognition of Christ as the source of consolation as well as the Father, and a union of his name with that of the Father in invoking important blessings. It is such language as could be used only by one who regarded the Lord Jesus as divine.

And God even our Father - Greek: "And God, and (και kai) our Father;" though not incorrectly rendered "even our Father." If it should be contended that the use of the word "and" - "our Lord Jesus Christ, and God," proves that the Lord Jesus is a different being from God - the use of the same word "and" would prove that the "Father" is a different being from God. But the truth is, the apostle meant to speak of the Father and the Son as the common Source of the blessing for which he prayed.

Which hath loved us - Referring particularly to the Father. The love which is referred to is that manifested in redemption, or which is shown us through Christ; see John 3:16; 1 John 4:9.

And hath given us everlasting consolation. - Not temporary comfort, but that which will endure forever. The joys of religion are not like other joys. They soon fade away - they always terminate at death - they cease when trouble comes, when sickness invades the frame, when wealth or friends depart, when disappointment lowers, when the senses by age refuse to minister as they once did to our pleasures. The comforts of religion depend upon no such contingencies. They live through all these changes - attend us in sickness, poverty, bereavement, losses, and age; they are with us in death, and they are perpetual and unchanging beyond the grave.

And good hope through grace - see the Romans 5:2, Romans 5:5 notes; Hebrews 6:19 note.

16, 17. himself—by His own might, as contrasted with our feebleness; ensuring the efficacy of our prayer. Here our Lord Jesus stands first; in 1Th 3:11, "God our Father."

which … loved us—in the work of our redemption. Referring both to our Lord Jesus (Ro 8:37; Ga 2:20) and God our Father (Joh 3:16).

everlasting consolation—not transitory, as worldly consolations in trials (Ro 8:38, 39). This for all time present, and then "good hope" for the future [Alford].

through grace—rather as Greek "IN grace"; to be joined to "hath given." Grace is the element in which the gift was made.

The apostle here addeth prayer to his exhortation: the word and prayer are to go together, whether it be written or preached; as the twelve told the disciples, Acts 6:4: We will give ourselves to the word and prayer. He had planted them a church, but he knew God gave the increase, 1 Corinthians 3:6. The persons he prays to are here, first,

our Lord Jesus Christ; which was a good argument in Athanasius’s time, for the dignity of Christ, against the Arians; and so it is still, and now against the Socinians: for God alone is the object of worship, and the bestower of those gifts which he here prays for. Only the apostle, when he mentions Christ, delights to mention him in his relation to his people; so he doth for the most part in all his Epistles, and so in this text. He useth a pronoun possessive, our, for it is relation and interest which commendeth and sweeteneth any good to us. And the other person is

God the Father, who is the Father of lights, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, Jam 1:17; and whom in his prayer he mentions together with Christ, because no access can be to God but through Christ, and no good gift descends to us but through him. And so God the Father is mentioned in his relation to his people also, God, even our Father; and when Christ is ours, in him God is ours also. And the apostle thus looking, and thus speaking of Christ and of God, strengthens his own and their faith, for the obtaining of the gifts he prays for.

Which hath loved us: another argument is from God’s love: our doubts in prayer arise more from unbelief in God’s will, than his power, which will vanish when we look upon him in his love to us; for the nature of love is velle bonum, to will good to whom we love. Another is, from gifts already received, which are, first,

everlasting consolation; whereby it appears, that God’s love is communicative, and that it is not common, but his special love he spake of. Outward comforts are common gifts, but these the apostle means not here, because they are not everlasting; they continue not beyond death; they begin in time and end with time: but this consolation begins in time, and abides to eternity; and this man cannot give, the world cannot give, nor we give it ourselves, God giveth it only; and he gives it to whom he loveth, as every man seeks to comfort those whom he loves: and though some whom God loves may not feel his consolation, yet they have a right, and God hath it in reserve for them: Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart, Psalm 97:11. And though sometimes it may be interrupted where it is felt, yet not so as to be destroyed in its foundation, and to hinder its return, either in the temporal or eternal world, where it will be everlasting; so that as God is styled the God of all grace, 1 Peter 5:10; so, the God of all comfort, 2 Corinthians 1:3. And by us in the text he means these Thessalonians as well as himself, for he had spoken before of their joy in the Holy Ghost, 1 Thessalonians 1:6. And the other gift is, good hope. Hope, as a natural affection, is the expectation of the soul; and the object of it is bonum futurum, arduum, possibile; good, future good, difficult, and possible. But, as a grace, it is the expectation of the good things God hath promised, and not yet exhibited. And it is called good hope, good by way of eminency; with respect to the objects of it, which are eminently good; the certainty of it, it will not make ashamed, Romans 5:5; compared to an anchor sure and stedfast, Hebrews 6:19: the regularness of it; things promised only, and as they are promised; else it is presumption, and not hope: the fruits of it; peace, purity, industry, and consolation also, and therefore joined with it here in the text: as the apostle speaks elsewhere of rejoicing in hope, Romans 5:2 Romans 12:12 Hebrews 3:6. Or, as some, it is called good hope, with respect to the degree they had attained of it in their hearts; though they had not yet the good things promised, yet they had good hope of enjoying them. And by this epithet he distinguisheth this hope from the carnal vain hope of the men of the world, and the false hope of hypocrites, Job 8:13; and themselves also from the state they were in when Gentiles, without hope, Ephesians 2:12. And this also is God’s gift, as he is called the God of hope, Romans 15:13, not only as the object, but the author of it. And both these gifts are here said to be through grace; for else we could have had no ground either of hope or comfort. Sin had shut up our way to both, it is only grace that hath opened it to us. What we enjoy at present, and what we hope to enjoy, is all through grace. And from these gifts already received the apostle strengthens his faith about the other things he here prays for. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself,.... The apostle having exhorted the saints to perseverance, closes this second part of his epistle, relating to the coming of Christ, with a prayer for the saints, that they might be comforted and established. The objects addressed are Christ and the Father. And in each of their characters are reasons contained, encouraging to believe the petitions will be regarded; for it is "our Lord Jesus Christ himself" who is prayed unto; who is our Lord, not by creation only, in which sense he is Lord of all, but by redemption, and through a marriage relation; and he is our Jesus, our Saviour, and Redeemer; and our Christ, the anointed prophet, priest, and King; even he himself, who stands in these relations and offices; and what may not be expected from him?

and God, even our Father; not by creation, but by adoption; and as it is in his power, he has a heart to give, and will give good things unto his children: and inasmuch as Christ is equally addressed as the object of prayer as the Father, and is indeed here set before him, or first mentioned, it may be concluded that there is an entire equality between them, and that Christ is truly and properly God; otherwise religious worship, of which prayer is a considerable branch, would not be given him, nor would he be set upon an equal foot with the other, and much less before him. The Arabic version reads, "our Lord Jesus Christ, our Father"; and the Ethiopic version also, "our Lord Jesus Christ, God our Father"; as if the whole of this, or all these epithets and characters, belong to Christ, and he was the only person addressed; but the common reading is best: which hath loved us; this refers both to the Father and to Christ. The Father had loved them with an everlasting and unchangeable love, as appeared by his choosing them unto salvation by Christ, securing them in his hands, and making an everlasting covenant with him, on their account; by sending his Son to be the Saviour of them; by regenerating, quickening, and calling them by his grace, adopting them into his family, pardoning all their sins, justifying their persons, and giving them both a meetness for, and a right unto eternal glory. And Christ, he had loved them with the same love; and which he showed by undertaking their cause in the council of peace; by espousing their persons in the covenant of grace; by assuming their nature in the fulness of time; by dying in their room and stead; and by his continued intercession and mediation for them, and by many other instances. And since they had such a share in the affection both of the Father and the Son, it need not to have been doubted but that what was prayed for would be granted: to which is added,

and hath given us everlasting consolation: all true solid consolation is from God and Christ: God is called the God of all comfort; and if there be any real consolation, it is in, by, and from Christ; and it is the gift of God, an instance of his grace and favour, and not a point of merit; the least degree of consolation is not deserved, and ought not to be reckoned small: and it is everlasting; it does not indeed always continue, as to the sensible enjoyment of it, in this life, being often interrupted by indwelling sin, the hidings of God's and the temptations of Satan, yet the ground and foundation of it is everlasting; such as the everlasting love of God, the everlasting covenant of grace, the everlasting righteousness of Christ, and everlasting salvation by him, and he himself, who is the consolation of Israel, as well as the blessed Spirit, the Comforter, who ever abides as the earnest and pledge of future happiness. And the present spiritual joy of the saints is what no man can take away from them, and what will eventually issue in everlasting consolation, without any interruption in the world to come, when sorrow and sighing shall flee away, and all tears be wiped from their eyes:

and good hope through grace. The Syriac version reads, "in his grace"; and the Ethiopic version, "a good hope; and his grace", hope, as well as faith, is the gift of God, a free grace gift of his: and it may be called a good one, because God is the author of it; and it is built on a good foundation, the person, blood, and righteousness of Christ; and is of good things to come, and therefore called the blessed hope; and is what is sure and certain, and will never deceive, nor make ashamed; and since consolation is given here, and hope of happiness hereafter, it may be concluded the following requests will be regarded.

Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17. The apostle rises from his evangelical activity (2 Thessalonians 2:15) up to Christ, the Lord and Ruler of the Christian church, and concludes with the mention of God, who is the final reason and contriver of the Christian salvation. The unusual (2 Corinthians 13:13) naming of Christ first and of God second, is sufficiently explained from the fact that Christ is the Mediator between God and man.

On the union of the two nominatives, Christ and God, with a verb in the singular, see on 1 Thessalonians 3:11.

ὁ ἀγαπήσας ἡμᾶς καὶ δοὺς παράκλ. κ.τ.λ.] a fittingly-selected characteristic, in order to mark the confidence with which Paul expects the hearing of his supplications.

ὁ ἀγαπήσας ἡμᾶς καὶ δούς] refers exclusively to ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ ἡμῶν. Baumgarten-Crusius incorrectly refers only the second participle to God, and the first to Christ. But the participle aorist ἀγαπήσας must not be weakened into “qui nos amat et quovis tempore amavit” (so Schott, after Flatt and Pelt), but refers to the divine proof of love already belonging to the past,—accomplished, i.e. to the fact by which the love of God to mankind is κατʼ ἐξοχήν proved,—to the mission of His Son in order to rescue sinners from destruction.

καὶ δούς] and has thereby communicated to us.

παράκλησιν] comfort. This is called eternal,[69] not, perhaps, on account of the blessings of eternal life which Christians have to expect (Chrysostom, Estius, Vorstius, Grotius, Fromond., and others), but because Christians have become the sons of God, and as such are filled with indestructible confidence that all things, even the severest affliction which may befall them, infallibly serves for their good, because God has so ordained, and that nothing in the world will be able to separate them from the love of God in Christ; comp. Romans 8:28; Romans 8:38 f. The opposite of this eternal consolation is the fleeting and deceptive consolation of the world (Olshausen). παράκλησις accordingly refers to the present. On the other hand (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14), ἐλπὶς ἀγαθή refers to the blessedness and glory to be expected in the future.

ἐν χάριτι] in grace, i.e. by means of a gracious appointment, belongs not to ἐλπίδα, but to the participles. The opposite is man’s own merit.

παρακαλέσαι] may comfort or calm, refers particularly to the disquiet of the readers in reference to the advent (2 Thessalonians 2:2).

καὶ στηρίξαι] sc. ὑμᾶς (see critical remarks), which is in itself evident from the preceding ὑμῶν.

ἐν παντὶ ἔργῳ καὶ λόγῳ ἀγαθῷ] in every good work and word. Grotius incorrectly takes it in the sense of εἰς πᾶν ἔργον καὶ πάντα λόγον ἀγαθόν. But, with Chrysostom, Calvin, Turretin, Bolten, Flatt, and others, to limit λόγος to teaching is erroneous, on account of the universal παντί and its being placed along with ἔργῳ. The apostle rather wishes an establishment in every good thing, whether manifested in works or in words.

[69] The feminine form αἰωνία is found only here in the N. T. and in Hebrews 9:12.2 Thessalonians 2:16. αὐτὸς δὲ, perhaps with a slight implicit apposition to the you or we of the previous sentence.—ἀγαπήσας καὶ δοὺς, κ.τ.λ., connection as in John 3:16.—παράκλησιν for this world, ἐλπίδα for the world to come; all hope is encouragement, but not vice-versa.16. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father] This remarkable invocation corresponds both in form and place in the Epistle to that of 1 Thessalonians 3:11 (see note). But here Christ’s name comes first, a circumstance indicating the Divinity with which the writer invests it: “Where now are those who would lower the Son of God?” (Chrysostom). Comp. 2 Corinthians 13:14.—Again the Subjects are united by the singular number of the following verbs (comfort, &c., 2 Thessalonians 2:17).

As in 1 Thessalonians 3:11, we prefer to render the particle of transition But (rather than Now) may our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father. On “Lord Jesus Christ,” see note to 1 Thessalonians 1:1. St Paul invokes our Lord Jesus Christ Himself as their stablisher, with God our Father, in contrast with the efforts on their own part to which he has exhorted his readers (2 Thessalonians 2:15); comp. the transition in 1 Thessalonians 5:22-23 (see note).

St Paul prays with confidence for his emperilled brethren at Thessalonica, because of the grace which Christ and God had already bestowed both on them and him: Who loved us and gave us eternal comfort (or encouragement) and good hope.

“God our Father, Who loved us and gave,” &c. There is the tenderest connection of thought in these words. God’s Fatherly love prompts His great gifts. See the words of Christ in Matthew 7:11; Luke 12:32 : “Your Father who is in heaven shall give (you) good things,” &c.; comp. John 3:16; 1 John 3:1; also Romans 5:8. While the Thessalonians are “beloved of God” (1 Thessalonians 1:4), they are also “beloved by the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 2:13); and this clause, though singular, may include Christ in its reference, He and the Father being one in love as in comfort (2 Thessalonians 2:17).

In His love the Father had already given the readers gladness of heart in trouble (ch. 2 Thessalonians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:6), such as the Apostle often acknowledges in his own case (e.g. in 2 Corinthians 1:4-6)—an “eternal comfort,” which the sorrows of time will never waste. To know that God loves us is in itself a comfort infinitely rich. “Consolation” (A.V.) represents the Greek noun corresponding to the verb “comfort” of 2 Thessalonians 2:17. It is comfort in its older sense of heartening, encouragement, rather than consolation: see note on “comfort,” 1 Thessalonians 3:2.

A “good hope” is such a hope as it is good to have, that gives worth and joy to life. See note on “hope,” 1 Thessalonians 1:3.

These kindred blessings flowing from the love of God, are given in grace—not out of merit, and as to the worthy; but in the way of bounty to the undeserving. See notes on “grace,” ch. 2 Thessalonians 1:12 and 1 Thessalonians 1:1.2 Thessalonians 2:16. Ὁ Κύριος, the Lord) Refer to this the words, through grace.—ὁ Θεὸς, God) To this refer the words, who loved; 2 Corinthians 13:13.—αἰωνίαν, eternal) Nothing then can destroy believers.Verse 16. - Now our Lord Jesus Christ, and God, even our Father, who hath loved us. These last words, "who hath loved us," are to be restricted to God our Father, whoso love was manifested in sending his Son to rescue sinners from destruction. And hath given us everlasting consolation; or, comfort; everlasting as contrasted with the temporary and deceitful comfort which the world gives. And good hope through grace; or, in grace. "In grace" belongs to the verb "hath given," and denotes the mode of the gift - of his own free grace, in contrast to personal merit. Through grace (ἐν χάριτι)

Better, in grace, as the element of God's gift. Const. with hath given, not with hath loved and hath given.

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